Sierra Memory Usage

mildocjr

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Since the upgrade, I've noticed macOS doesn't like to give up memory as easily. I currently have 32 GB of RAM installed, only have Safari (one tab), Activity Monitor, and 2 very lightweight non-leaky menu bar apps open, aside from system daemons and such but it shows that I'm using 14 GB of 32 GB of RAM. None of which is purgeable through the terminal.

macOS has never been this liberal with the amount of RAM it gives to apps and I'm curious as to if anyone else has noticed this since upgrading. If not it may just be grounds for a re-install but I'd like to see what the community has to say before I do that as I have almost 1.5 TB that I'd have to restore.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,534
25,266
I wouldn't worry. It could well be indexing or doing other things to eat up RAM.

Historically, the more RAM you have, the more OS X will try and use to improve performance. Granted, 14GB seems quite excessive, but as long as it isn't paging then I'd say there's no cause for concern. If it begins to page/swap to the HDD, then you've got a problem.
 

chabig

macrumors 604
Sep 6, 2002
6,918
4,117
The real question is, do you have a problem? Is your machine running slow, or exhibiting some system that makes you think there isn't enough memory? Unless you can honestly answer yes to any of those, just forget about it. Put it in the "interesting behavior I observed" column and move on. Stop watching it.

I know this sounds condescending, but I don't mean it that way. Modern operating systems are designed by very smart computer scientists. Just let it run as designed. A reinstall won't change anything, by the way.
 

netnothing

macrumors 68040
Mar 13, 2007
3,680
307
NH
I have noticed Sierra is awful on my machine with RAM and swap compared to all previous versions. I have 16GB - and during a normal work week prior to Sierra, I would never start to swap to disk. Now, I can't get through a day without it swapping and having a large amount of Cached Files.

Now I will say - I don't really notice a difference. I do feel at times Sierra is a bit slower than pervious OSes......but I'm also waiting for the next couple of releases. Nothing that would make me consider a clean install at this point.

-Kevin
 

chabig

macrumors 604
Sep 6, 2002
6,918
4,117
For comparison, my MacBook Air has 8GB of RAM. I'm running Safari (3 sites open, one heavy with javascript), Mail, Messages, and Activity Monitor.

Memory Used: 6.71 GB
Cached Files: 1.23 GB
Swap Used: 293.5 MB



By the way, if you just upgraded to Sierra, you should wait a minimum of a few days for it to complete normal housekeeping function, indexing, etc.
 

netnothing

macrumors 68040
Mar 13, 2007
3,680
307
NH
For comparison, my MacBook Air has 8GB of RAM. I'm running Safari (3 sites open, one heavy with javascript), Mail, Messages, and Activity Monitor.

Memory Used: 6.71 GB
Cached Files: 1.23 GB
Swap Used: 293.5 MB



By the way, if you just upgraded to Sierra, you should wait a minimum of a few days for it to complete normal housekeeping function, indexing, etc.
Yeah, I upgraded day 1 - so enough time has passed. I'm just responding to the OP to let him know that it's likely Sierra causing this, not his machine.

I only know this because I have in the past monitored Activity Monitor for things and prior to Sierra, the only time I would get compressed memory or start to hit swap would be if I'm rendering video or working with large photoshop files. Now with Sierra, I don't have to do much at all to have it hit swap.

I'm guessing Sierra likes to swap certain things out quickly compared to previous releases. Apple probably assumes most people have SSDs so small things wouldn't be that much of a performance hit.

-Kevin
 

mildocjr

macrumors 65816
Original poster
I'm thinking it's a Sierra thing and this might end up being un-optimized memory management. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to say hey this user has 32 GB let's use half of it, when the user might be counting on using 24 GB of it for Virtual Machines. 32 (total) - 14 (used) = 18 (left) - 24 (needed) = -6 (needs to be released).

Having an OS fight for control over 6 GB seems less than necessary when 10 GB of the 14 GB is leftovers from programs that were closed down a few hours ago and were never released from RAM. The way I think it should work is that if I close out of a program, clear it out of memory. There is no reason for softwareupdated to use 1.44 GB of RAM when there are no updates available. There is no reason for cacheDelete* daemons to be running 100% of the time especially when they hog up close to 2 GB of memory. There is no reason iBooks should be still listed in Activity Monitor after it being closed, and it shouldn't be using 700 MB of RAM during a session where it was never opened.

The problems I'm thinking of have to do with automatic updates not releasing memory when they are done. Like there is some infinite while loop going through the same method.

Likewise I have also been using Mac OS 10.12 since developer beta 1. It was an issue then which I sent feedback on, but I was thinking I still might have developer leftovers in my install even though I have done a new install twice to the release.
 

chabig

macrumors 604
Sep 6, 2002
6,918
4,117
It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to say hey this user has 32 GB let's use half of it, when the user might be counting on using 24 GB of it for Virtual Machines. 32 (total) - 14 (used) = 18 (left) - 24 (needed) = -6 (needs to be released).
I'm still going with the "it's working as it should angle." Your scenario requires the computer to predict that the user "might be counting on using 24GB for virtual machines." With current technology, the OS has no way to predict what you might want to do. It can only react. So why not use everything it's got, and if the workload changes, make appropriate adjustments?
 

netnothing

macrumors 68040
Mar 13, 2007
3,680
307
NH
Quick update on my end - updated to 10.12.1 when it came out yesterday. Been running it since, and working today in Photoshop - no memory swapping yet. Previously I would hit swap within the first couple of hours not even doing any heavy work.

-Kevin
 

mildocjr

macrumors 65816
Original poster
I'm still going with the "it's working as it should angle." Your scenario requires the computer to predict that the user "might be counting on using 24GB for virtual machines." With current technology, the OS has no way to predict what you might want to do. It can only react. So why not use everything it's got, and if the workload changes, make appropriate adjustments?
I'm honestly whining about the CPU cycles it takes to free up that much memory, it's sad.
 

stooovie

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2010
798
298
Quick update on my end - updated to 10.12.1 when it came out yesterday. Been running it since, and working today in Photoshop - no memory swapping yet. Previously I would hit swap within the first couple of hours not even doing any heavy work.

-Kevin
So all is good now?
 
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